The Unconditional Love of Pets
Posted February 14, 2019
The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic
relationship between people and their animals, influenced by
behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both,
according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Kit Darling, infection control coordinator at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has spent
years studying the human-animal bond.
This bond is most evident in the relationship that forms between
people and their pets.
“Think about the feelings you have when you come home to a pet
that is excited to see you,” Darling said. “Pets are non-judgmental
and provide unconditional love, meaning, and joy to our lives.”
The relationship pet owners form with their animals can be
emotional, psychological, and physical, according to Darling. Pets
can help decrease loneliness, relieve stress and anxiety, and
provide opportunities for exercise, play, and recreation.
“Spending quality time and doing activities with your pets can
strengthen your bond with them,” Darling said. “This may include
going for walks, doing training classes, participating in shows and
events, and doing animal-assisted activities.”
Though all pets can provide emotional support and love for their
owners, dogs have a history of being used for therapy work.
“There are some special animals such as therapy dogs that are
trained to provide unconditional love, affection, and comfort to
groups of people,” Darling said.
Many cities have local organizations that focus on pet therapy
work. In College Station, Aggieland Pets With A Purpose teaches
people how to train their pets for therapy work and takes
volunteers to visit places in the community.
Darling said therapy dogs can comfort people in hospitals,
long-term care facilities, hospice, schools, and disaster
“The dogs can help people accomplish goals in physical,
occupational, and speech therapy,” she said. “People are excited to
come to their therapy sessions when the dogs are present; I have
seen people respond to therapy dogs when they have not responded to
“Residents at nursing homes anxiously wait in the lobby when our
dogs visit,” she continued. “A college student studying for finals
enjoys taking a break to visit with the dogs and relieve stress.
Nursing staff at a hospital find a little relief from a busy day
while petting a dog.”
Like therapy dogs, all pets can provide comfort, joy, emotional
support, and more. They do not judge and are quick to forgive. They
are always happy to spend time with you, whether playing or simply
sitting in the same room.
“Think about how your pets enrich your life through your
relationship with them and the activities you do together,” Darling
said. “We provide them with care and love, and they share their
unconditional love with us to brighten our days.”
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for
future topics may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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